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Title Insurance and Settlement Best Practices



Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

On April 13, 2012, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued CFPB Bulletin 2012-03. CFPB Bulletin 2012-03 states that CFPB expects supervised banks to have an effective process for managing the risks of service provider relationships in a manner that ensures compliance with Federal consumer financial Law, which is designated to protect the interests of consumers and avoid consumer
harm.

Supervised banks must have an effective process for managing the risk of service provider relationships. To limit the potential for statutory or regulatory violations and related consumer harm, supervised banks must take steps to ensure their business arrangements with service providers do not present unwarranted risk to customers. These steps should include, but are not limited to:

  • Conducting thorough due diligence to verify that the service provider understands and is capable of complying with Federal consumer financial law;
  • Requesting and reviewing the service provider’s policies, procedures, internal controls, and training materials to ensure that the service provider conducts appropriate training and oversight of employees or agents that have consumer contact or compliance responsibilities;
  • Including in the contract with the service provider clear expectations about compliance, as well as appropriate and enforceable consequences for violating any compliance-related responsibilities, including engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices;
  • Establishing internal controls and on-going monitoring to determine whether the service provider is complying with Federal consumer financial law; and
  • Taking prompt action to address fully any problems identified through the monitoring process, including terminating the relationship where appropriate.

Mission Statement

Irby & Heard, P.C. implements Best Practices to protect its clients, promote quality service, to provide for ongoing employee training and meet legal and market requirements.

The American Land Title Association (“ALTA”) has issued a list of “Best Practices” for title companies and Irby and Heard, P.C. complies with these Best Practices.

Below is a list of the Best Practices of ALTA together with what Irby & Heard, P.C. has implemented.

Irby & Heard, P.C. Contact Information

Irby & Heard, P.C., attorneys at law, maintains one (1) office located at 317 Magnolia Avenue, Fairhope, Alabama 36532. The mailing address is Post Office Box 1031, Fairhope, Alabama 36533. The telephone number is (251)928-4555, and the facsimile number is (251)928-7993. The contact persons are Sam W. Irby, attorney at law, and W. Kenneth Heard, attorney at law. The email address for Sam W. Irby is samirby@irbyandheard.com. The email address for W. Kenneth Heard is kenheard@irbyandheard.com.


Best Practices

1. Best Practice: Irby & Heard, P.C. establishes and maintains current licenses as required to conduct the business of title insurance and settlement services.

Irby & Heard, P.C. maintains appropriate compliance with ALTA’s Policy Forms Licensing Requirements. Irby & Heard, P.C. continuously reviews its legal, contractual, and statutory requirements for licensing and incorporates such requirements in this Best Practices where applicable. Irby & Heard, P.C. maintains active agency and agent licenses with: (i) the State of Alabama, (ii) Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company, Company Agent License, Sam W. Irby and W. Kenneth Heard, (iii) the Alabama State Bar, (iv) E & O Insurance, and (v) Notary Public Underwriters. Irby & Heard, P.C. has no title insurance or other licenses in another state or any active non-resident state licenses; however, in the event Irby & Heard, P.C. obtains any such license, this manual will be amended accordingly.

Irby & Heard, P.C. actively monitors all licenses to ensure they remain current, and Irby & Heard, P.C. will actively pursue any additional licenses if, when and where necessary and will encourage other and additional employees to become properly licensed. Irby & Heard, P.C. communicates and furnishes copies of all new and expired licenses with the Underwriter. All licenses and the appropriate American Land Title Association Policy Forms License and copies of all completed continuing education materials for the renewal of all licenses are kept at the main office of Irby & Heard, P.C. electronically.

Sam W. Irby, W. Kenneth Heard and Peggy Estrada are the only persons authorized to give rate quotes, and pursuant to the laws and statutes of the State of Alabama, Sam W. Irby and W. Kenneth Heard, are the only persons duly licensed and authorized to discuss coverage and exceptions, make underwriting decisions, and sign commitments and policies. In the event other persons become authorized, this manual will be amended accordingly.

All licensed individuals maintain the necessary continuing education and ethics requirements and documentation is maintained to evidence same.

2. Best Practice: Irby & Heard, P.C. adopts and maintains appropriate written procedures and controls for Escrow Trust Accounts allowing for the electronic verification of reconciliation.

All escrow trust accounts are maintained at federally insured financial institutions. To document escrow/trust internal controls are in place to meet requirements for safeguarding client funds and to minimize the exposure to loss of same.

Irby & Heard, P.C. continuously reviews its legal, contractual, and statutory requirements for escrow and trust accounting procedures, and this manual will be appropriately amended to add any new requirement when applicable.

3. Best Practice: Irby & Heard, P.C. adopts and maintains a written privacy and information security program to protect Non-Public Personal Information as required by local, state and federal law.

Irby & Heard, P.C. restricts access to Non-Public Personal Information to authorized associates who have undergone a background and credit check.

Irby & Heard, P.C. has a formal privacy and information security program installed and maintained by a local computer and internet security company. The security program is appropriate with the size, complexity, nature and scope of the activities and the sensitivity of the information in the possession of Irby & Heard, P.C. Irby & Heard, P.C. also maintains as part of the security program a Privacy Policy Notice given to each client at closing. Additional information about the Company's privacy and information security program of Irby & Heard, P.C. is available to clients upon request.

All policies related to the privacy and information security program of Irby & Heard, P.C. are given to each employee and the employee must acknowledge in writing they have reviewed and understand all such policies. Sam W. Irby and W. Kenneth Heard are responsible to help ensure the policies are furnished to the employees and the employees have acknowledged same.

Irby & Heard, P.C. and its internet security company make an assessment at least annually of the standards and requirements affiliated with the information security program of Irby & Heard, P.C. and those set out herein. The assessment is conducted by a qualified technician of the internet security company and is reviewed and overseen by Sam W. Irby and W. Kenneth Heard.

Irby & Heard, P.C. has an email security policy that requires all emails from Irby & Heard, P.C. to clients concerning title insurance and settlement transactions be secured by requiring passwords for all emails.

Irby & Heard, P.C. maintains a Disaster Management and Preparedness Plan to insure business continuity for our clients regardless of situation.

Irby & Heard, P.C. is committed to being a paperless office.  Unless requested by our client or otherwise required, we no longer setup or maintain new paper files.  All of our documents are saved on our onsite network server and backed-up each day. All of our files are secure and protected. It is our goal to reduce paper dependence and automate the processes through a secure and legal mechanism. 

4. Best Practice: Irby & Heard, P.C. adopts standard real estate settlement procedures and policies that ensure compliance with Federal and State Consumer Financial Laws as applicable.

Irby & Heard, P.C. has a standard process in place to insure proper settlement and timely recording on all transactions handled by us.

Irby & Heard, P.C. conducts ongoing employee training to insure that it can meet state, federal and contractual obligations governing the settlement process and provide a safe and compliant settlement.

5. Best Practice: Irby & Heard, P.C. adopts and maintains written procedures related to title policy production, delivery, reporting and premium remittance.

Irby & Heard, P.C. has a policy in place that insures title policies are delivered within thirty (30) days of satisfaction of all requirements in the title commitment and all title premiums are remitted to our title underwriter when due. Title insurance policies are reported and premiums are remitted to the underwriter in a timely manner to meet statutory, regulatory or contractual obligations.

Sam W. Irby and W. Kenneth Heard monitor and maintain a tracking report and periodically review same to help ensure the appropriate business professionals are licensed and renewed when necessary

6. Best Practice: Irby & Heard, P.C. maintains appropriate professional liability insurance and fidelity coverage.

Irby & Heard, P.C. maintains errors and omissions insurance and a fidelity bond.

7. Best Practice: Irby & Heard, P.C. adopts and maintains procedures for resolving consumer complaints.

Irby & Heard, P.C. addresses and tracks all client inquiries. We will respond promptly to any client complaint and will address all issues and make every effort to satisfy our clients.

Irby and Heard, P.C. has on file in our office a detailed Policies and Procedures Manual for Best Practices and Code of Business Conduct and Ethics. These documents are available for review by any lender.

 


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